Posted in Spiritual Direction

Taking Evil for Granted

9/21/20

Sisters and brothers,

Today I write you with trembling heart and shaking hands.  Last night I had a direct encounter with evil and I don’t think I will ever be the same.

As a child, my mother always warned us of evil and the “work of the devil.”  As an adult, I grew out of those threats, thinking of evil as more a reflection of a human being’s unhealed wounds and unresolved fears and less as the dude in the red morph suit with horns on his head and a pitchfork in his hand.  Similarly, I have thought of societal evil as being an energy where collective fear had gathered.  As a reasonable and logical human being, I don’t want to believe in an external, embodied force of evil, but after last night, I can no longer take evil for granted, but must consider the very real possibility of a force outside of us playing on people’s insecurities and fears and driving them to truly harmful actions.

I will spare you the details of what I read last night.  In short someone I had considered a “friend” (as the wife of a dear friend she is really more of an acquaintance and to be honest I don’t think she has ever really liked me – I often caught her giving me the “stink” (evil) eye.) posted a venomous anti-democrat/liberal tirade on FB.  To be fair, the same words she used could have been posted as an anti-Republican/conservative rant.  The point is that through gross over-generalizations and blanket accusations, blame was laid on the liberals for everything that is wrong in our nation and why they are choosing Trump – as gross, despicable, narcissist, etc. he is as a way of protecting the nation from the “dangerous liberals.”  Again, I have seen the very same words used in the other direction for why “liberals” are choosing Biden or a Third-Party Candidate.

The words themselves were not the problem – it was the energy behind them.  The energy behind the words and the author’s defense of her position was PURE EVIL.  I tried to engage with her, and she immediately accused me of being a troll and threatened me.  I assured her I was not a troll, I only wanted to point out that I tend to lean in the liberal direction and I had never done anything like or behaved in any way similar to the accusations she had leveled against all liberals and that neither did I believe every Republican to be evil.  I suggested that the only way to solve the problems in our world was to embrace a “we” attitude and work together to find common ground and to seek out solutions that serve us all.  She continued to blame, shame, accuse, and eventually quit commenting.  I noticed this morning she had deleted my comments.  (chicken!)

The post and her refusal to see past the divisive intention and nature of her post shook me.  Normally I would just brush it off as the ravings of a myopic human.  But the energy of this interaction came into my dreams which were filled with images of “A Handmaid’s Tale” with me in the starring role – being imprisoned, sexually tortured, etc.  It was horrible.  I was doing battle and just trying to survive.  I awoke from the dream trembling, shaking and out of breath.  You know when you have a dream where you feel you are stuck in it and cannot get out and when you finally arrive back in the waking world you are aware of how hard you fought and how long the journey was to escape that dimension?  It was like moving through wet cement returning to an awakened state.  I had to take Lorazepam to calm down.

It was as I was coming out of that dream that I became aware of the presence of (what I thought to be) evil.  I saw it as a tall, thin, insect-like man. He had grey, smooth, snake-like skin but had the appearance of a tall praying mantis or walking stick insect.  I was initially terrified by the specter of this “being,” but decided to sit with “him” rather than run.  A “conversation” unfolded and the fearful specter became more benign, even gentle.  The essence of what he had to say to me was, “I’m just doing my job.  I’m only doing what I’m told.”

I’m still trying to make sense of it, but my sense in this moment is that the grey insect-like man is a “worker” for a larger force/energy that is hell (pun intended)-bent on causing division.  This division is being sown on both “sides” of the political discussion and placing many in the position of only being able to see through their own lens and with their own perspective – unable to sit down with who they perceive to be “the other” to find (as I suggested) common ground.  This energy of division is purposefully tearing us apart for their own gain.  There are those who favor a people divided because as the old adage says, “Divided we fall.”  Someone wants us to fall and is using division to make sure that we do.

Now we arrive at the point of my whole post:  With all our being we must resist the temptation to divide!    With that, I will be the first to admit my own tendencies to divide.  I am painfully aware of all the times I have used language using “us and them.”  In the troubles that are currently facing our world, we cannot be divided – we must find a way to seek out WE.  We are also responsible on some level for the troubles that face our world – whether we are complicit or guilty by omission.  Because WE created the problems, only WE can solve them.

This begins first with ourselves by exploring all the ways we are tempted to point the finger of blame at a certain political group, making mass assumptions of a party based on the actions of a fearful or evil few. We must also be accountable to the ways in which we may have purposefully or inadvertently participated in or created separation.  Who and how do we judge?  What actions have come forth out of that judgment?  What labels have we entertained and what assumptions have we made about someone because of their political affiliation?

Let me offer a personal and transparent example.  Many would consider me to be a “bleeding heart liberal” because I am a proponent of universal healthcare, an advocate for funding public education, and decidedly pro-choice.  Because of these two points people have made assumptions about my politics and my reasoning and intelligence – making assumptions about where I stand on certain topics and assuming I’m not taking the time to become well-informed.  I cannot tell you how many have made incorrect assumptions based on these three positions that I hold dear.  Conversely, I have been tempted to make certain assumptions about those who call themselves Republican, Libertarian, or Independent but I have learned through my relationships with people who align these ways, that I cannot assume, for example, that all Republicans support a civilian militia armed with AK-47’s “policing” our streets.  Just because one guy drives up and down Main St. waiving the Trump/AK-47 flag doesn’t mean any other Republican believes this is ok.

Division is the weapon of evil and we need to do all we can to a) not give into the temptation to divide and b) heal the division that we see.

Last night, I did everything I could to try with my “friend” but sadly she was unable or unwilling to explore the possibility that she might discover common ground with those she sought to condemn.  While it is the hardest thing to do, I will keep trying.  But at the end of the day, if some are unwilling to seek out “We” instead of “They” all I can do is shake the dust off my feet and walk away while praying for the healing of the division that is trying to tear us apart.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Spiritual Direction

Pay What You Are Able

I am very passionate about the programs and services I provide through Authentic Freedom Academy.   These services and programs have proven for many to be life-changing.  I know this has been true for me. (Before sharing these resources, I first had to master them myself).

While the sharing of these programs and services is how I provide for myself and my family, I do not want those called to this level of support to be prevented from participation because of financial limitations.  This is especially true as we move through these troubling times and as many are suffering financial hardship due to Covid-19.  I do not want this time of financial hardship to prevent you from receiving the support you need during these difficult times.

In light of this I am initiating a new pricing policy:  PAY WHAT YOU ARE ABLE.  If you are feeling a strong pull toward my online courses, training programs or the need for personal support through spiritual counseling or Reiki, but are struggling financially, please reach out to me directly.

Email me at lauri@authenticfreedom.love and together we will work out a financial arrangement that works for you.  Payment plans, deferred payments, discounted fees and even full scholarships are possible depending on your unique situation.  Please do not hesitate to reach out.  I want as many people as possible to enjoy the benefits of the programs and services that have helped me and the hundreds of women and men who have enjoyed them through my support.

And if you are financially blessed and would like to provide support for those who are struggling financially, I welcome your generous donation on behalf of those who might not have the means to pay.  Donations can be made directly through my website using the “Donate” button at the bottom of the sidebar menu to the right.

I look forward to supporting you in finding peace, in discovering and living as your true self, and in learning the tools that will help you to stay centered in the middle of a world in crisis.

 

With love,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lauri

 

Posted in Reiki, Spiritual Direction

Grand Re-Opening

I am excited to announce that I am completely moved into my new office and will begin taking clients for Spiritual Counseling and Reiki on Monday, June 15, 2020!


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spiritual Counseling supports you in:

  • Processing Grief
  • Managing symptoms of anxiety, depression, trauma
  • Releasing symptoms of past trauma
  • Moving through life-transitions (job changes, divorce, moves, children, empty-nest)
  • Processing world changes
  • Finding meaning and purpose in your life
  • Fulfilling your dreams

 

Reiki:

  • Supports deep relaxation
  • Helps to calm anxiety and worry
  • Brings peace to the body, mind and spirit
  • Calms and balances the mind
  • Restores balance and harmony to the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual body
  • Supports the release of painful emotions and past trauma
  • Supports physical, emotional and mental wellbeing
  • Supports the body’s ability to heal itself

 

The following appointment times will be available:

 

Mondays and Tuesdays

3:00 pm, 4:30 pm, 6:00 pm

 

Thursdays:

9:00 am, 10:30 am, noon

 

All appointments will run 60-90 minutes depending on your needs.

 

Appointment Fees:  Pay what you are able between $90.00 and $120.00.  Reduced fees are available for those suffering financial hardship.

 

Email lauri@authenticfreedom.love or call (920) 230-1313 to schedule your appointment.

 

My office is located at 711 Oregon St.  Oshkosh, WI  inside Essentials for Wellness and in the same building as Inner Sun Yoga Studio.

***During the Covid-19 event, I will provide you with the option of mask or no mask.  I am happy to wear a mask if you like.  I will leave this to your own discretion and discernment.  Hand sanitizer will also be made available.  

 

 

NOTE:  Phone, Skype and ZOOM sessions are also available.  Please email for availability.

 

 

Lauri Ann Lumby, OM, OPM, MATS has her master’s degree in Transpersonal Psychology, is a trained Spiritual Director, Reiki Master, and ordained interfaith minister.  She has been providing both Spiritual Counseling and Reiki since 2001 and has supported hundreds of women and men in their journey to wholeness.  Lauri is also a highly regarded educator and published author.  She developed her own protocol, Authentic Freedom™ to support people in identifying and healing the fears that prevent them from experiencing peace and fulfillment in their lives. She incorporates this protocol in everything that she does.

Posted in Spiritual Direction

BIG ANNOUNCEMENT – WEEKLY GATHERINGS

THE BIG ANNOUNCEMENT!

Starting Friday, March 27th, I will be holding a weekly ZOOM gathering for PLUS and PREMIUM members.  We will gather from 1:00 – 2:30 or 3pm central time.  Gatherings will be recorded for later viewing.  Further support will be available through the online social network (NOT FACEBOOK) where we can continue to connect with each other in a reasonable atmosphere of mutual love and support.

The gathering will be part inspiration, part spiritual practice and part discussion.

If you have not yet become a member, please click on the image below and choose PLUS or PREMIUM depending on your budget and desire.

Posted in order of the magdalene, Spiritual Development, Spiritual Direction, Spiritual Formation

Coming Home

For me, as I suspect is true for all of us, the search for “home” has been a lifelong journey.  I can humbly say that I believe I have found “home” in a place within where I am at peace with myself, one with the God of my understanding, pretty clear on what my gifts are to the world, sharing those gifts to the best of my ability and creating the life rhythm and flow that supports the Home I feel within myself.

I’m still working on the rhythm and flow piece, but the rest feels pretty well-grounded.  The one piece that is not yet matching the vision that has been with me for the past 26 years (my whole life if I’m really honest) is the COMMUNITY piece.

This is where I need your help!

The overall vision of Authentic Freedom, is, and has always been, TO BE A SPIRITUAL HOME where women and men can gather as companions on this journey of self-discovery and self-actualization – being unconditional, loving support for each other as we try to find our way home – home to ourselves. This is the kind of support that can only be found in the sanctity and refuge of a safe space in which we can be ourselves, where we can share our own individual perspectives, believes and experiences without fear of judgment.  It can also only happen in a space where we can equally share our fears, our struggles and our challenges along the path.  The way can be hard and we often need each other to lift each other up!

This is the exact purpose of the membership options at Authentic Freedom, to create space in which people may gather and connect.  The social network (Plus Membership) and Teacher’s Circle (Premium), especially, lend themselves to connection.

If you have not yet joined our Social Network, please consider doing so.  It’s only $15.00 per month and if even that is outside of your budget, please email me directly lauri@authenticfreedom.love and we will figure something out.  I don’t want to turn away anyone to truly feels called to be in community with those of like mind.

Here are the detail on the membership options:
https://authenticfreedom.love/plans/membership-options/

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this email, and I look forward to building this community with you!

With love,

Lauri

copyright Lauri Ann Lumby
Posted in Divine Revelation, Spiritual Direction, Spiritual Formation, Spiritual Practices

Is There Any Truth in Scripture?

In a word:  YES, but not in the way many religious institutions would have us believe.  While some (many) have used the Bible to manipulate the masses and to put forth their own hidden (or sometimes not so hidden) agendas, this is not how scripture proves relevant to us today.  I should probably qualify that statement….if our desire is for separation, then using the Bible to put forth dogma, justify separative actions, or to sell the story of a God who wants you to be wealthy, then that is how one will use the Bible.  If, however, our desire is for unity and for humanity to come together in harmony with one another, then we are required to approach scripture in a different way.

While the Bible is the inspired word of God (Truth, Love, The Divine, by whatever name you call the Source and Revelation of all that is), so too is every example of the written word.  As we become increasingly aware of the wisdom traditions and sacred writings of other cultures, we discover an abundantly flowing wellspring of wisdom.  As the Western world grows increasingly disenchanted with institutional Christianity and discovers the compassionate teachings of our friends in the East or from the Native people who were here before the European invasion, the temptation is to exchange the traditions in which we were raised for these “new age ideas.”  The problem is that there is nothing “new” about New Age, neither is there something unique in Buddhism, Hinduism, Zen, Paganism, or Native traditions that we cannot find in our own traditions.

This is where the rich tradition of Christian contemplative practices proves helpful.  (Note:  there is also nothing unique to the tradition of Christian contemplative practices, expressions of all the practices we call “Christian” can be found in the Jewish faith out of which Christianity emerged, and also within the spiritual practices of the cultures in which Judaism was immersed.) With these practices, we can approach scripture through the lens of inquiry and as a tool through which we can discover and discern our own truth.  In this way, scripture acts like a mirror, reflecting the guidance, insights, learning, comfort and healing we need in the present moment.  Whether we think of God as the Divine Source of all that is, or as a reflection of our highest self, when applying contemplative practices to scripture, “God” is providing us with what we need.  It is through these contemplative practices that we come to know the God of our own understanding while at the same time coming to know ourselves.  In this way, scripture is can be our teacher, our source of guidance and direction, our healer, our counselor and our comforter.

This post is an excerpt from our Authentic Freedom Weekly Lesson.  Become a member today and enjoy this, another other offerings:

Posted in Spiritual Direction

Announcing: Icons for a New World

I have spent my lifetime coming to know myself. As an educator and counselor, writing has always come easy, but art has come as a great surprise. My art comes from my heart and has its own message for those for whom the message is intended.

Thanks to the encouragement (ass kicking) of several of my spiritual sisters, I am now offering my art for sale.  Click on the image below to access our online store!

Posted in Spiritual Direction

Do Not Fear the Darkness of Life

It has been said that courage is not the absence of fear, but is instead the ability to move forward in spite of our fear. THIS is the lesson and meaning of life and what Jesus came to teach us.  This courage is what we commemorate and give honor to in our Good Friday observance and what we are invited to embrace in our own lives.  Whether we profess Jesus, Mohammed, Moses, the Buddha, Amma, Anandamayima, the 13 Grandmothers, Spider Woman, Mother Mary, Mary Magdalene or any other formerly living human as our teacher, the lesson is the same:

Do not fear the darkness of life. Instead, let it lead you to freedom.

In every spiritual tradition, the invitation is the same – FREEDOM. Some describe this freedom as salvation.  Others speak of it as presence, bliss, oneness, unity, peace, or love.  No matter what word is used to describe this freedom, the sentiment is the same.  We are here to remember the freedom we once knew and will once again know and we are here to remember this freedom right here in the midst of our human experience.

Like Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. One of my favorite scenes from the life of Jesus.  Here he wrestled with his doubts and his fears.  Because of his foresight and wisdom, he had a sense of where his path was heading.  He knew there were those threatened by his presence and that if people truly believed what Jesus had come to know, many would lose their perceived place of power and privilege.  Jesus knew they plotted to kill him.  He was afraid.  Terrified.  And in this, he wondered if God really had his back.  Had he simply made it all up or was what had been revealed to him really true?  Jesus fought hard with these fears and doubts.  He was tempted to chuck it all and return to a normal human life.  Instead, through the agony of prayer, he found peace.  He discovered resolve.  He harnessed the deep well of courage within him to face his greatest fears – suffering and death.

But Jesus’ struggle didn’t end in the Garden. His fears surfaced over and over and over as he took one step at a time on the road to Calvary.  When accused.  While on trial.  When he was whipped and beaten.  When the soldiers placed the crown of throne on his head.  When we was given the cross to carry through the city of Jerusalem and up the winding road to Golgotha.  As people mocked and ridiculed him, spit on him, called his names.  When he fell.  When he stumbled.  Every step of the way rose up another fear.  Jesus did not overcome his fears, he walked through them. He faced them.  He bore them.  And he walked.  One step at a time.  As the executioners nailed his body to the cross.  As the cross was lifted and his body sunk under its own weight, crushing his lungs.  Terrified.  Feeling abandoned and betrayed.  Suffering the excruciating death of crucifixion.  Jesus was afraid.  In pain.  Suffering.  In his suffering he turned to God and this is where he found his courage.  Where he found his acceptance and peace.

Hopefully none of us will have to face the death of crucifixion, but fear, suffering, and death are all consequences of the human condition. We cannot escape it.  We will all experience suffering.  We will all face challenge and difficulty.  We will all experience loss, betrayal, and death.  This is the human condition and this is why the Jesus story is so important – for all of us.  In the crucifixion narrative and the events leading up to it, Jesus shows us how to face the darkness of life.  He shows us how to find our way through our fears (he never promises the elimination of fear) and most importantly, how to walk on in spite of our fears.

 

What darkness are you currently facing?

How are you being invited to be with your fears and in being with them finding the courage to walk on?

 

Authentic Freedom is a protocol inspired by Jesus which shows us how to face and move through our fears in our own journey toward freedom.  Learn more HERE.

Posted in Death, Spiritual Direction

Oh Death

Borrowing from a popular song (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ydrtF45-y-g) :

Let’s talk about death baby

Let’s talk about you and me

Let’s talk about all the good things and the bad things that may be

Let’s talk about death…..

As it has been said, there are two things that are certain in the human experience: change and death.  We have spoken at length about change, but we haven’t spent much time on the topic of death.  Death is certain and every day of our lives is a slow (or quick) march toward that death.  We cannot avoid it – our own death or the death of those we love and care about.  While death is certain, and could simply be viewed as an ordinary part of our human experience, it is also our greatest fear.

As we fear and resist change, so too do we resist and fear death. It may not be death specifically that we fear, but the inability to control, when, how and with how much pain (physical or otherwise) we experience death.  We also fear that which comes after death – if anything.  And perhaps more than the “if anything” we fear the possibility that this life might be all there is….that there is nothing waiting for us on the other side of death.  From a rational, objective, scientific perspective, we have no way to prove what there may or may not be after death.  What it there’s nothing!?

 

Every religious institution has its own beliefs about death and what comes thereafter. Some suggest that this life is all there is.  Others preach the ever-evolving wheel of karma and that we return to this life over and over and over until we have worked off that karma so as to earn enlightenment or nirvana.  Some suggest the purpose of the human journey is to grow spiritually and that we return until our eternal Soul has completed its growth.  Others suggest a place of eternal damnation.  Others suggest a place of eternal reward.  Some used to suggest there were places in between (limbo or purgatory), but both of these seem to have been eliminated in favor of heaven or hell.  Others believe in a hierarchical afterlife where only the very special chosen ones will receive the fullness of the heavenly reward.  The beliefs that human beings have developed around the idea of death are endless.  No matter which of these is true, we have no control over when death will come for us or how that death will happen (unless it is by our own hand)…..and this scares the hell out of most people.

Until it does not. In the Christian tradition, we are told that Jesus came so as to conquer death…..:

“Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you do not receive our testimony. If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things?  No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.

“Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.  John 3: 11-17

God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began,  and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, 2 Timothy 1: 9-10

 

…but what was the death that Jesus conquered? Jesus did die…(at least that’s what scripture and Christian doctrine tell us).  If Jesus brought eternal life, it is not an eternal life on this human plane.  Christianity then goes on to tells us that in his death Jesus guaranteed eternal life for “all who believe in him.”  But what about the rest of the world?  Are only Christians saved?  I very much doubt it. I personally believe we are all saved, but not in the way that has anything to do with a heavenly reward, or lack thereof.  Instead, it is not physical death and the “what comes after” that Jesus saves us from.  Instead, Jesus came to save us from that which prevents us from LIVING while we are right here, trying to get through this thing called life (Cue Prince).  Ironically, the way we make it through this human experience is to face down and move through this which we fear the most – namely death.

 

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Shamanic support for endings in your life.